About Roquefixade Castle
The Château de Roquefixade is a ruined castle built on a cliff overlooking the village of Roquefixade, in the département of Ariège, France. There are records of a castle on the site going back to 1180, though the present ruins are more modern.
Roquefixade Castle history
While marketed in the tourist industry as one of the so-called Cathar castles, the ruins are later than this. Despite this, Roquefixade Castle did provide a place of refuge for the Cathars at the time of the Albigensian Crusade.
A natural cleft in the cliff face has been filled in by an arch supported by ramparts. This cleft is the origin of the name of the village, and later the castle: ‘roca fisada’ (fissured rock) in Catalan. The remains of the castle walls cling to the rock, originally circling an impressive keep built at the highest point of the site.
At the end of the 13th century, Roquefixade became a stronghold at the end of a line of royal fortresses built along the Corbières hills, to keep watch over the territory of the Count of Foix. The keep was remodelled in the 14th century, and other alterations were made in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The castle survived until 1632 when the French king Louis XIII rested in the area on his way to Toulouse for the execution of the Henri II, Duke of Montmorency who had risen against Richelieu. Louis took the opportunity to order the destruction of Roquefixade as it served no purpose and was costly to maintain.
Roquefixade Castle today
Open to the public, Château de Roquefixade has been listed since 1995 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. What remains of the castle continues to dominate the village of Roquefixade, sitting atop a rocky cliff.
You can climb up to the castle (in sturdy walking boots) and will be rewarded with views that include the Ariege mountains, the Pyrenees, Montsegur, Les Corbieres and Le Lauragais.
Getting to Roquefixade Castle
The walk to Roquefixade Castle is well sign posted and should take about 25 minutes starting from Roquefixade village square. Walk up a well maintained gravel track where you will reach a grass verge on the right. Walk up the steps and the castle should always be on your right.
Otherwise, Roquefixade Castle is just off the D117, about an hour and 20 minutes drive from Toulouse via the A66.